Is project management a good next step for a programmer?

Have you ever considered how beneficial a programming background could be in project management? A project manager must have an understanding of the application of technology for successful project completion, and a programmer may have the technical knowledge and skillset to make project management an ideal challenge. Sybil Fawlty, a project manager and former programmer, has seen first-hand how the two roles can blend together for a project’s success. For those who possess both skillsets, making the transition to project management may prove a productive move.

There are a variety of obstacles one may face when attempting to combine programming and project management. Without an understanding of the project process and project lifecycle, a programmer may miss valuable insight and experiences essential for project delivery. Additionally, they may lack knowledge of the coordination and control of project resources – people and materials – to complete a project (Larson and Gray 2018). The ability to assess risk and implement corrective action is also a key factor in any project’s success, and programming may not provide enough of an introduction to the Project Risk Management Process (Titov and Kolasinac 2020). Balancing the technical, management and leadership skills required for an effective project manager can prove challenging with just a programming background.
Sybil Fawlty is a professional project manager with over twenty-five years of experience. Having had careers in both programming and project management, Sybil now provides this unique insight to others whose programming careers are transitioning to project management. In this article you will learn from Sybil’s wealth of experience in understanding the complexity of the project process and managing multiple stakeholders. Sybil offers a comprehensive guide to programming project management, going into depth on how to successfully translate expertise and knowledge from a programming background into the skills and capabilities required to projects manage. She also provides insight into how to use the right tools and processes for each project and manage the various stakeholders in the delivery of a project from start to finish.

Definitions of Project Management for Non-Technical Readers

Project Management is the process of creating and managing a plan to successfully accomplish a specific goal. It’s a way to organize and direct projects from conception to completion, making sure that they are completed within a set timeline and budget. It’s an organizational system that focuses on results and identifies and evaluates the necessary resources and tasks needed to reach successful completion.

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Programmer is a person who creates computer software, usually to fulfill a specific task. They design and code programs based on the specifications of a project using various programming languages, such as C++, Java, and Python. They also perform debugging and troubleshooting to eliminate any errors or issues.

For a programmer, project management provides the opportunity to expand their skills and learn new concepts. It involves the tasks of organizing, scheduling, and managing teams and resources, which they can use to build their experience and diversify their skill set. Project management is a great next step for a programmer who is looking for career advancement in the field of technology.

Heading 1: Introduction to Project Management

Project management is an important set of skills for any successful programmer. Whether a programmer needs to coordinate resources, manage various competing priorities, track budget restraints, or lead teams, a solid understanding of project management strategies can be invaluable.

Overview of Project Management

Project management is a popular career path that combines elements of organization, communication, and problem solving across a variety of fields. It involves identifying the tasks to be completed, determining the resources necessary to complete the tasks, and coordinating all aspects of the project to ensure successful completion. To accomplish this, project managers must have strong communication skills, highly developed problem-solving capabilities, and a deep understanding of the particular industry in which they are managing projects.

Benefits for Programmers

Project management is a great opportunity for programmers. It allows them to use the technical skills they have already developed and apply them in a new context. Project management also provides a unique insight into the needs of other departments, which can be invaluable in agile development processes.

A programmer’s experience in project management also increases their value to a company, as they are able to represent the technical side of a project and ensure that developers are informed about project goals, deadlines, and priorities. Plus, having a background in project management can make a programmer a more reliable teammate and become a go-to person for questions within their team.

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Finally, project management certifications are highly sought after by companies, as they demonstrate an individual’s ability to successfully manage projects.

Organizational Skills

A programmer adopting project management techniques will see an improvement in their ability to remain organized on a project. Having the ability to juggle multiple tasks at once will become increasingly important in a programmer’s career. Project management utilizes a number of tools, such as Gantt charts and task boards, to ensure that teams are working together cohesively and that important deadlines are not missed.

  • Project management introduces tools for organizing tasks
  • Allows programmers to apply their technical skills in a new context
  • Ingrains programmers with strong communication skills
  • Demonstrates an individual’s ability to successfully manage projects
  • Increases a programmer’s value to a company

The bottom line is that project management can be a useful tool for programmers to advance in their careers by developing new skills and providing new perspectives.

Heading 2: Advantages of Project Management for Programmers

Heading 3: How to Get Started in Project Management for Programmers

“Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” -Edsger Dijkstra

For those with a background in computer programming, pursuing a career in project management may be a great next step. Project management involves taking the lead on projects, overseeing resources needed to complete them, and ensuring milestones are met and objectives achieved. While not readily apparent, project management is a great fit for those trained in programming; technical skills form a backbone of the profession, requiring understanding of the technology itself, as well as the ability to communicate with the team and stakeholders.

Building Your Project Management Skills

Project managers must be closely involved in every facet of the projects they oversee. This requires developed skills in areas such as budgeting and cost estimation, organization of resources, relationship management, timeline development and tracking, and risk assessment. Building these skills, while honing technical programming details, is key to becoming an effective project manager.

Building and cultivating these skills can be approached in much the same way a programmer learns the intricacies of their language. Establishing a framework, gaining hands-on experience, and continuing to learn and grow from past successes and failures is important to honing a successful project management practice.

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Invaluable Soft Skills

The ability to communicate, collaborate, and motivate others must also be developed in order to be an effective project manager. Working with a team of programmers requires effective communication and a sense of trust and respect that may not be necessary when programming pieces alone. It is essential to be able to articulate ideas, respond to criticism, and, above all else, motivate others to work to the best of their ability.

Soft skills also come into play when fostering relationships with other stakeholders, such as clients and administrators. Being able to explain technical details in an understandable way is key to achieving project goals. Moreover, it is necessary to be able to respond to customer and management feedback with respect, while still maintaining a sense of authority in the subject matter.

For those trained in programming, pursuing a career in project management may be rewarding and challenging. Building skills, keeping up to date on the latest methods and practices, and developing relationships with those around you is important to ensure success. With a bit of effort and dedication, those who are experienced in programming can become the most effective project managers.


The answer to the question of whether project management is a suitable next step for a programmer is not a simple yes or no. One must consider the various factors involved in order to determine the best career path for them. The first and most important factor to consider is the individual’s interests, skills, and values. It is important to evaluate current skills and career interests to determine if project management is the right choice.

Taking on a new challenge can be daunting for anyone, yet it can also be very rewarding. Anyone considering taking the plunge into project management must weigh the potential risks and rewards to determine if the switch is worth it. They should also take into account their current job and how it might be impacted. Keeping an open mind and evaluating the pros and cons of the situation is essential to making the best decision.

Are you considering a career change? Would you benefit from taking on a project management role? Follow our blog for more interesting insight on career-driven topics, and be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming releases!